Energy poll

Most Scots back Sunak’s plan for North Sea oil

Rishi Sunak at Tory conference in Glasgow
Rishi Sunak is offering more North Sea oil licences (pic: Terry Murden)

SNP and Labour reluctance to back new oil fields is unpopular with the majority of Scottish voters, a poll has shown.

The research reveals that 54% favour continued investment in the North Sea and would support Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to grant more licences in UK waters.

SNP policy is for a “presumption against more licences” while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to end North Sea exploration and put investment behind clean energy.

The study by carried out by Survation for True North shows 23% against and the same proportion unsure.

Three-quarters (74%) want the UK to meet its demand for oil and gas from domestic production.

Mr Sunak announced also announced funding last month for a carbon-capture project in Scotland, opening a dividing line with the Labour Party and the SNP over energy policy.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said that Mr Sunak was “a prime minister that is in climate denial coming up to Scotland to announce approval of a hundred new oil and gas licences” and that he was holding back the move to renewable energy.

Fergus Mutch, a managing partner at True North and a former head of press for the SNP, backed Sunak’s policy of approving fresh drilling.

“The recent announcement of new oil and gas licences gives industry greater clarity and grounds for confidence — and our poll puts public opinion in Scotland squarely behind such an approach,” he said.

The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) figures, published last week, showed that Scotland’s share of oil and gas revenues rose to a record £9.4 billion in the past financial year.

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